Let there be art

  • Written by Don Mann
The weighty issue on the docket — from a business standpoint — was amending traffic impact fees, and the Woodinville City Council got to that.

But before they did, they did a good thing for the arts.

Voting unanimously, the council rolled back the Temporary Use Permit fee the city imposes from $4,607 to $1,788. Moreover, it will add a future docket item that could allow theater production in multiple zones, thus clearing the way for the Woodinville Repertory Theatre shows to go on at costs only of its own.

The Rep is currently working out of Denali’s, located in the city’s industrial zone.

Simply because of the geographic, it was hit with an exorbitant permit fee, which threatened to strangle the operation.

There was little discussion at the dais, as it appeared to be a no-brainer.

Charley Blaine, publicity director for the Rep, was in the gallery and later said he was pleased but not overjoyed. It wasn’t exactly a bargain, but the thespians could deal with it.

“That was good news and we remain alive for next season but more depends on the future zoning change,” he said. “That will be way more advantageous to us in the long run.”

Currently, under city code, theatrical productions are only permitted in the Central Business Zone (CBZ).

“I don’t really get that but there’s a lot about city politics I don’t get,” Blaine said. “All we want is to have our own space, pay our own costs. We’re a non-profit. We don’t make a lot of money. All the money we make goes into the next show. We pay our actors a pittance.”

Blaine said the Rep produced three shows over the last six months, paused to deal with the business distraction to remain afloat, and hopes to start production again in January — at Denali’s, which seats 50 patrons.

“We like it there and they’ve been good to us. But in the long run we’d like a permanent home.”

He said the old Woodinville Schoolhouse might fit the bill.

“That could work, but maybe not, depending on the politics … We’ll see where that thing goes ... We’d love to have a 150- to 200-seat theatre ... stage, lights, complete sound board, shop facilities to build props … We’ve built an audience, a loyal audience, and we hope to build more ... But what we need most is stability of venue.”

They’ve already got the volunteers.

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